American and South Korean scientists have found that the popular sports supplement Craze is secretly spiked with a chemical compound similar to methamphetamine.
Craze, a pre-workout powder made by Driven Sports, is advertised as containing only natural ingredients, including dendrobium orchid extract, but some samples contained a meth-like compound that appears to have its origins in an illicit designer recreational drug, USA Today reports. U.S. researchers also found the chemical in the weight-loss supplement Detonate sold by Gaspari Nutrition.
“These are basically brand-new drugs that are being designed in clandestine laboratories where there’s absolutely no guarantee of quality control,” said Pieter Cohen, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and a co-author of the Craze analysis. The drugs have never been studied in the human body and the risk of heart attack and stroke are “completely unknown,” Cohen said. Some dietary supplements have been linked to liver injuries and liver failure. In July, a USA Today investigation reported on other tests that detected amphetamine-like compounds in Craze. Driven Sports describes Craze as providing “unrelenting energy and focus” in workouts.
In May, Cohen said, researchers informed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about the chemical compound in Craze, according to USA Today. The compound—N,alpha-diethylphenylethylamine—has a structure similar to methamphetamine, a powerful, highly addictive, illegal stimulant drug. Researchers from the National Forensic Service in South Korea and the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in the Netherlands have said the compound found in Craze was the same one found in a crystalline powder seized by narcotics agents in December 2011 as a suspected illicit designer drug.
Matt Cahill, a top official of Driven Sports, is a convicted felon with a history of selling risky dietary supplements, including products with ingredients linked to severe liver injury and at least one death, according to USA Today.
Because of the current government shutdown, USA Today reports, FDA officials who oversee dietary supplements could not be reached for comment. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) did not return calls.